The Elon community celebrates the start of the Lunar New Year with food, performances and games at the Feb. 11 event.
Two hundred people came out to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life on Friday, Feb. 11, hosted by the Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA) in collaboration with EMPRESS, an Asian sorority interest group on campus.
The Lunar New Year is a major celebration in several Asian cultures, following the lunar calendar. It marks the first full moon of the year and lasts 15 days. This year’s lunar new year fell on Feb. 1.
“In terms of intensity it’s about as important as Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Emma Walker ’22, co-president of APSA.
Local martial arts school, Lee Brothers Martial Arts Academy kicked off the night with a performance of their skills. Throughout the night there were performances, games, crafts and plenty of food from local restaurants.
“We wanted to bring something more authentic presentation-wise to campus, which is why we wanted martial arts, because that’s just something different from what we could find here at Elon,” said APSA co-president Kelly Leang ‘22.
The Lunar New Year is a time to honor spirits and ancestors by cooking food, offering blessings and prayers and celebrating with family.
“It’s just a way to get rid of all of the bad energy of the last year and welcome a new year,” Leang said. “Usually a lot of people clean, they wear red and it’s almost like rebranding yourself in a way.”
A zodiac is associated with each Lunar New Year and 2022 is the Year of the Tiger which symbolizes courage and bravery. Every 12 years, the zodiac cycle repeats itself.
For Leang, the importance of this celebration comes with the fact that the percentage of Asian & Pacific Islander-identifying students at Elon is low at 2.3 percent.
“There is still this representation on campus, and it shouldn’t go ignored,” Leang said. “It’s a way to bond those students in the community as well as teaching others about what some students here experience and practice.”
Walker highlighted that the celebration event shared cultural experiences with the Elon community.
“This particular event is a great example of everyone being welcome, the entire Elon community, not just API-identifying folks, not just students of color,” Walker said. “The more people we have, the more fun we have.”